Title: The Pursuit to Slow Realisation

Disclaimer: Artwork is Then by theband ( theband. deviantart art/ Then-27929368)

Rating: M

Warnings: Muggle AU

Chapter Three: Slow Realisation


'Well spotted,' Sirius rolls his eyes, trying to push his way past her.

Lily purposely stands in front of him again, arms crossed over her chest and a menacing look plastered on her face. She looks every bit of the bully that she is and Sirius wonders, yet again, how Remus is friends with a she-devil like her. Their personalities clash horribly: she is loud, bossy, wet-blanket grade commanding, and past coddling to just plain smothering. Remus, on the other hand, is kind, quiet, sweet, with a hint of mischief that is very much appreciated. 'I'm coming in to visit Remus like I always do. Since when are you his gate keeper?' He tries to move past her again to get to Remus's room but is blocked by all five feet of her. His hands are already aching from holding on this long.

'In case you haven't noticed, this is not a gate, it is a window. And you, sir, are breaking an entry.'

Sirius looks down to judge the distance of his fall and how much damage will come to him if she doesn't let him in within the next five minutes.She-devil, he thinks again with growing amount of hate. 'Look, I don't know what your problem is, but this is how I always come in. So move aside, and let me see Remus.'

Lily raises an eyebrow. 'No,' she replies simply.

'No?' Sirius hates her and the murderous glare he shoots her communicates exactly how much. 'Since when are you Remus's keeper? This is his house and his room, so why don't you just fuck off.'

'Remus might have forgiven you but don't get ahead of yourself,' she sneers, 'He only did it because he's stupidly nice and can never stay angry at anyone. That's the kind of person he is. But if you think you're going to pull one over me, you've got another thing coming…' The heels of her hands rests on the knuckles of both of Sirius's, pressing down so that the grooves of the window frame dug into his skin painfully. Her face looms over his, green eyes boring into grey. 'I don't like you, Black. I don't like you at all and keep in mind that I've got my eye on you…'

'I'm terrified,' Sirius's tone is mocking. 'Listen Evans and listen well, you're not Remus's girlfriend so stop acting like you are.' He crows internally when she jolts back in surprise. He uses this opportunity to hoist himself up and sits on the windowsill. Just as he predicted, Remus is sound asleep. There are a few pill bottles on his bedside table, fewer than the ones in the hospital, but still too many. Sirius knows that Remus following his medication to the tee because he is worried about the finals and whether he will be able to go back to practices soon enough. Sirius turns his attention back to Evans, 'You know as well as I do that the reason things aren't awkward between the two of you is because he's dismissed your feelings as a joke or a thing of the past. That kiss you put all your hopes into? He didn't even understand it.'

'Bastard,' Lily spits, her face going red and hands clenching into fists. It is unbelievable that she thinks she has gone unnoticed. Sirius had seen everything that day in the hospital but had kept quiet out of respect for Remus alone. He doesn't care about her but Sirius knows that it will tear Remus apart if anything ever came between his and Lily's friendship. 'You fucking bastard. How dare you threaten me?'

'I'm not,' Sirius retorts. 'Don't think so low of me, Evans. I have no intention of threatening you or using that little bit of information.' He looks past her at Remus again, making sure he is asleep. Sirius is mostly sure he is, because Remus's medication tends to be a powerful sedative. He still lowers his voice, just in case ashe stands up. He is playing dirty, he knows: using his height advantage to intimidate her and look down at her. 'But I am warning you. Don't act all high and mighty when you're as deep in the dirt as me. What I did to Remus - aren't you doing the same to James?' His eyes turn serious and he places his hands on both her shoulders. 'You know he's in love with you but you still agreed to go out with him. So which of us is being cruel now?'

Lily opens her mouth and then closes it, clearly at a loss of words. She looks to be in turmoil and Sirius almost feels sorry for her, but he needs an answer and is willing to press for it if necessary. She looks back at Remus, just like Sirius, but with a wistful look in her eyes. 'I'm not stupid enough to stay hung up on him after all this time. That's what I keep telling myself at least. And James is the first person who made me think that it's all right to feel this way. I haven't kept any secrets from him, nor am I deceiving him,' she replies softly. Then, as if realising the chink in her hard exterior, she scoffs and fixes her usual glare back at him. 'Now, get lost before I string you from this window by the hair on your balls.'

Sirius winces. 'No,' he replies, though he can already feel his legs rearranging themselves to protect his privates. He doesn't trust her and knows for a fact that she is every bit capable of following through her threat. 'I want to see him. I'm not leaving until I do, so you can do whatever it is you want.'

There is a look on Lily's face that Sirius cannot read, but it looks close to pity. 'Look, what do you think Remus's mum is going to say when she sees you here?'


'They heard you, Sirius,' Lily stresses. 'They heard every word you'd said to Remus that night.'

Sirius finds his face paling. 'I can apologise and-'

'Remus is their son. Do you think they will ever forgive you for hurting him?'

Sirius looks past Lily's shoulder at Remus again. He looks so peaceful and Sirius only now realises how light Remus's skin is – like cream. He thinks of the pink tint in Remus's cheeks whenever he laughs too hard at Sirius's jokes or gets embarrassed over being teased. He thinks of how much he missed this tiny detail when Remus had been mad at him. How much he will miss it if Remus's parents forbid them from ever meeting gain. 'I-' Sirius tries to think of a good excuse; some redeeming point of his that he can use in his defense against Remus's parents. When he finds none, he squares his shoulder and starts walking towards Remus's bed defiantly. He looks back at Lily, eyes challenging her to stop him as he stands right on top of Remus. 'I don't give a rat's arse. I won't stop visiting or being his friend, even if you put a fucking gun to my head.'

Now Lily is looking at him with pity. 'Black, have you ever taken the time to listen to the words coming out of your mouth?'

Sirius is too busy running his hands through Remus's hair to hear her at first. He knows Remus likes it and just as he thinks it, he is rewarded by a content smile spreading across Remus's lips as he unconsciously moves towards Sirius's hands.


Sirius startles. 'What?'

Lily looks at him disbelievingly. 'You!'

'Why do you keep saying that?' Sirius rolls his eyes. 'I am well aware that I am, in fact, me.'

'Just,' Lily pinches the bridge of her nose, 'get out. Get out and figure things out. You're obviously…' She sighs as if in a loss for words. Sirius just thinks she's too stupid to come up with any. 'Just go before you manage to hurt someone again…'

They are close; too close, Sirius thinks. Sirius isn't stupid. He can always tell when people fancy each other, and right now he can tell that Lily Evans has feelings for Remus Lupin. She hides them surprisingly well, in between dating James and being the vivacious best friend. But Sirius was there when she kissed Remus in the hospital and he knew she'd pinned a decent bit of hope onto it. He had seen her face crumple at Remus's reaction and even as daft, daft Remus undermined the sincerity of her confession. Honestly, he cannot stand Lily Evans and it is only by unspoken agreement that he keeps quiet in exchange for letting him near Remus again.

James is a fool for loving her.

'I'll go get the drinks,' Remus says, bobbing to the edge of the pool and hoisting himself up. He purposely splashes Lily as he gets out, earning more laughter from her.

The Potter's indoor pool is something of a miracle in this weather. Sirius assumes it is a thing only money can buy as it is an impressive facility, complete with their own pool boy/lifeguard, personal gym and a tiny greenhouse that Mrs. Potter takes care of personally. Despite the heater working furiously, the glass roof meant to let in sunlight only shows a not so welcome collection of snow very characteristic of the North. The water however, is refreshingly warm against their skins and ripple gently from the constant activity of four restless teenagers. Even Sirius has to admit that this is the best idea James has ever come up with; not only because of the endless supply of snacks and beer or even because it is just plain fun. But because Sirius has been granted the mouthwatering view of Remus in his element, his wiry body glistening with water and cheeks flushed from joy.

'The same for you two?'

Both James and Sirius nod, as they watch Remus walk to the counter. Sirius wishes Remus had worn something a bit smaller than his silly yellow trunks but can't bring himself to complain as they slip off his bum to reveal the initial swell of two very perfect arse cheeks. He has never denied that Remus is extremely fit, but knows it is wrong to stare so soon after having patched things up. So instead he turns to James, only to wish he hadn't.

James has already wound an arm around Lily's shoulder, kissing her cheek at sickeningly regular intervals. She smiles indulgently and for a moment, it honestly looks as if she is somewhat smitten with James. Sirius shoots her a glare anyway.

'Sirius, why don't you make yourself useful and help Remus with the drinks?' James says idly, now burying his nose in Lily's red hair and kissing her neck. His hand is somewhere under the water that Sirius would rather not think about.

Sirius thinks that all gingers are conniving bitches and all brunettes are horny bastards. He himself is one really.

'Go on,' James makes a shooing motion with his hand, not even noticing the smug look Lily shoots Sirius. It is bad enough that she is unnaturally cosy with Remus; now she is also playing with James's priorities.

'Ginger devil,' he mutters under his breath as he gets up grudgingly. He grabs a towel to dry himself off as he approaches Remus who is bent over the cooler. 'All right?' He asks, patting Remus on the shoulder, and feels a pang of hurt when Remus flinches under his touch.

Things aren't quite back to normal with them yet. Remus still regards him warily, as if expecting Sirius to say and or do something horrible all over again. Conversation between them is stunted, which has never happened before, and even casual touching seems awkward and misplaced now. The tension between the two of them is too thick to even cut with diamond. Sirius reckons he deserves this after the way he's acted. A part of him also says that this friendship is already beyond salvation but every cell in Sirius's being still craves Remus attention. Sirius doesn't know why it is so important to try and patch things between them, or even why he feels he needs to be with Remus at all times. He isn't the type to question his instincts.

'Are they at it again?'

Sirius looks back and sure enough, James and Lily are attached at the lips yet again. It brings forth the urge to throw up. 'Fuck, they never seem to stop for air!'

Remus snorts and rolls his eyes. 'It's hard to believe that a few weeks ago, Lily couldn't stand the sight of him. We should just super glue them together and save both of us those bloody phonecalls about how much they miss each other.'

Sirius raises an eyebrow. 'You get those, too?'

'I get one from Lily and another from James every bloody day.'

Sirius feels extremely sorry for Remus. 'And I thought I had it bad.' He notices the pool boy skulking around the area again but doesn't pay much mind to it. It is his job after all; perhaps he thinks James and Lily are drowning. Sirius wishes they were, just to save his eyes from further torture.

He shrugs and slings his towel around his shoulders. Remus is looking at him expectantly, drinks in hand, when Sirius realises he's blocking the way. Not that he cares. 'Listen, there is this brilliant new movie coming out and I've already asked James to go but he's busy wi-' He frowns when he notices the pool boy coming towards them and looks back. It didn't seem like there was any trouble anywhere. 'Sorry,' Sirius apologises, still distracted. 'As I was saying, we could perhaps go together on Sunday and...' Sirius trails off again as the pool boy stands directly in front of them, mouth quirked up in a cocky grin.


Remus dutifully steps aside, assuming the boy is talking to Sirius, who just looks at him quizzically. 'Can I help you?' Sirius asks, his eyes checking out the boy in front of him. Fit body; face cut to perfection; and an attitude to match - exactly the kind Sirius went for. Yet, for some reason, he only felt irritation over being interrupted.

'Er, I was talking to Remus actually. It is Remus, isn't it?' Thick Welsh accent; almost as thick as his deep set eyebrows - Sirius already doesn't like this bloke; something about his perfectly brown hair and his perfectly dimpled cheeks is very off putting.

Remus seems startled at being addressed so directly and can only nod.

Sirius's frown deepens.

'I've seen you come around a lot. My name's Keiron by the way.'

Horrible name, Sirius thinks. The worst kind of name there is; it sounds like a cheese manufacturer. Now that Sirius thinks about it, even Kieron's skin is like cheese – pasty yellow – and not at all attractive. So when Kieron holds out his hand to Remus for a shake, Sirius's surreptitiously comes in the way.

Kieron frowns, but seems undeterred. 'You're bloody brilliant. I was watching you swim for a really long time, before it finally hit me: I've seen you in the local paper. You've won a lot of regional championships, haven't you? I surf a decent bit myself.' He laughs as Remus blushes bright red and mumbles a very shaky yes. 'So, listen, I was thinking maybe the two of us cou-'

Sirius doesn't give Kieron time to finish, grabbing Remus by the wrist roughly and pulling him back to the pool. 'Shut up,' he growls when Remus tries to protest. 'Don't talk. Just…' He finds himself seething at the absolute gall of the bastard to actually proposition Remus like this. His face is burning hot and images of all the ways he can maim the bastard flash in his mind. Kieron is nothing; just a stupid over confident pool boy who thinks he is all that. He is nothing in comparison to Remus. 'Just stay here,' Sirius scolds Remus, stopping at the edge of the pool. From the corner of his eyes, he can see James and Lily looking at him curiously but he ignores it. 'Don't go near him again.'


Sirius hates that Remus is protesting. Hates that Remus is looking past his shoulder at what is undoubtedly that blasted pool boy. He hates that Remus seems so adorably confused despite how pathetically obvious this situation is. 'Just, listen to me, all right? Don't go near him again. He's bad news.'

Remus scowls. 'You talk as if you know him.'

Of course Sirius knows him. Sirius is him. 'I do,' he lies. 'And he's got a bad reputation for sleeping around and cheating and…and drugs!'

'But he's Welsh,' Remus protests.

Oh for heaven's sake. 'That is no reason to put him on a pedestal. Even the Welsh can be abusers!'

'I meant; you've stayed in London all your life, so how could you possibly know him?'

'You're part Irish and you're here,' Sirius retorts. 'Besides, he transferred to our school for his GCSE's. Don't be fooled by his mediocre pursuit of career. His family is old money. Too much money can do things to you, you know.' There is no shame in protecting Remus, Sirius thinks. Lies aren't really lies if there is a possibility that there is truth in them; and in Sirius's head, new possibilities are created every day. 'Besides, why do you think he's this buff? Steroids! Not to mention, he has a feet fetish!'

'A feet fetish?'

'Are you honestly telling me that you didn't notice him ogling your perfectly straight, may I add, toenails?'

The horrified expression on Remus's face is enough to rejoice on. 'I just thought he wanted to discuss swimming?'

Sirius is filled with the overwhelming need to pinch Remus's cheeks, both to bring him into reality and because Remus is currently being too adorably daft for words. 'He was flirting with you,' Sirius explains finally with an eye roll. He cannot believe that Remus actually looks shocked as if the possibility of that happening is the same as being crowned Miss Camp Universe. 'Look, you just stay here, all right? I'm going to go and have a word with him and get all our drinks as well.'

Remus looks as if he wants to say something more. His eyes waver from Sirius to Kieron who is still standing beside the cooler with a knowing smirk on his face. Kieron waves and the minute Remus hesitates, Sirius knows he has won the war. Sure enough, a second later, Remus sighs, shrugs and dives back into the water. He grins a little when Sirius complains about getting wet all over again, and then swims away - back to Lily and James. He doesn't look back and Sirius is glad, because he would have caught Sirius flexing his fingers in preparation for a good strangulation.

'So, is he your boyfriend, then?'

Sirius cracks his knuckles, straightening his shoulders to look bigger, much like an animal looking to intimidate. He can feel a possessive growl rising to his throat. 'Not really.' His grey eyes bore into Kieron's light blue threateningly.

'Oh good,' Kieron replies obliviously. He leans in closer to whisper, as if sharing some huge secret. His blue eyes are sparkling with what Sirius classifies as pure evil. 'I have a real thing for innocent bookish types. Helps that he's fit and looks like a damn good shag, too. I don't suppose you could-'

Whatever it is that Kieron was going to ask is interrupted by Sirius's fist in his mouth and a subsequent kick to the groin.

If there was any shouting involved, Sirius didn't really hear anything. Nor did he feel any hands pulling him away while he thrashed and kicked. He did remember seeing a lot of red though; with burst of hot white rage clouding his vision. He also remembered Remus's face close to his, his lips moving to form Sirius's name. It was worth it, he will think at that very moment. For Remus, everything seems bloody worth it.

'So, Lily and I have decided to get married.'

The beer in Sirius's mouth is spit out in an impressive arch all over James's face. 'Excuse me?' He asks incredulously, his voice going a pitch higher than it really ought to.

James wipes his face with a napkin, expression twisting with disgust. 'Thanks, mate.'

'Are you out of your fucking mind? You've only been going out for three months now. Did you talk him into this?' Sirius glares accusingly at Lily - the bane of his existence.

'I proposed to her yesterday,' James adds defensively, holding Lily's hand tightly in his. Only now does Sirius notice the enormous diamond ring she's wearing. He doesn't know how he missed it when she came in. It is nearly the size of someone's pupil and sparkling every which way. 'Look, I know it's early and it isn't as if we're getting married now. But things are getting serious between us. Especially now that Lily's going off to university, it's really starting to hit how much we're going to miss each other. We both need some security to come back to. So, we're already planning to have her move in with me for the moment and...' James shrugs. 'I honestly can't wait to spend every moment of my day with her.'

'Aw,' Lily coos, leaning in to kiss James on the lips. 'Me, too, love.'

Sirius is yet again struck with the urge to vomit. Instead, he stuffs chips into his mouth and pretends that he hasn't just heard his friend confess his sure fire suicide plan. This is ludicrous! They can't get married now! They've just turned eighteen! Though, between the two of them, James has always been the one to settle down earliest. Still, Sirius imagined that day would come when they were in their thirties or even fifties, after having spent a good amount of time in a dedicated relationship. Not this...sham. It has hit Sirius a few times that Lily might just be going along with this for James's money, but he has kept this idea to himself. He knows Remus will be cross if Sirius ever voiced his opinion.

'I'm happy for you,' Remus, who has been quiet since the beginning of James's confession, finally speaks. 'I'm very happy for the both of you.'

Sirius only then realises that Lily's eyes have been trained on Remus the entire time, seeking approval. Now that he's finally given it, she jumps up to hug him, eyes glittering and delirious laughter escaping her lips. Sirius only grits his teeth; he is hit yet again with that feeling that Remus and Lily are too close. Why does she always have to sit beside Remus, even when James is around? Why does she feel the need to touch so much? Sirius knew they shared beds sometimes during sleepovers; and secrets between them are far too many to count. They have their own little jokes and secret glances; and Lily remembers every detail of Remus's life with perfect clarity. It is abnormal.

'Oh, Remus! I knew you'd support me! Mum and dad are just having a cow and I really need someone to talk to them about it. You will, won't you?' She pulls back and looks at him with wide hopeful eyes. 'I mean, it isn't as if I'm going to quit my studies or anything; I'm still going ahead with medical school. And this decision isn't as rash as it seems; James and I have really talked about this and…well…' She blushes as she glances back at James. 'We-'

Remus puts a hand over her mouth, chuckling. 'I'll talk to them, I promise. And I'll help you move in as well.'

'Are you inviting yourself over, Monsieur Lupin?' James asks with a horrid posh accent that sounds surprisingly like Sirius's.

Remus grins. 'Of course I am. Have this known, Monsieur Potter, that I am part of the deal. If you marry Lily, you marry me, too.'

James dissolves into hysterical laughter. Sirius really doesn't find this funny. He honestly doesn't. Instead, all he feels is a strange sort of unexplainable jealousy bubbling inside of him. It makes him clench his fists and glare daggers at Lily, which she duly ignores. It makes him want to monopolise Remus and snatch him away from everyone who tries and claims to be his friend. It is irrational and ridiculous, but Sirius can't seem to stop the way he feels; or even explain it for that matter.

'Only if you don't mind my end of the deal,' James points at Sirius. 'We should just marry the two of you together and save ourselves the trouble early on.' He dissolves into another bout of laughter and only realises that he's taken one joke too far when a sort of awkward silence falls over them. His eyes scan guiltily along Lily, Sirius and then Remus - none of them seem to know what more to say. James coughs, 'Right, so anyone seen the footy match lately? There was a penalty on-'

Remus stands up abruptly, eyes fixed on his plate of fish and chips. His chair tilts slightly, looking as if it will fall over, but then comes back into place like a rocking chair. 'I'll just be back from the loo,' he mutters softly. He doesn't even wait for an answer before heading off to the tiny corner that leads to another corridor. The loos in this pub are filthy, and Remus had once commented that he wouldn't be caught going there even if his bladder had swollen to the size of China.

It is enough to arouse suspicion and Sirius, too, gets up without offering much explanation. Lily and James don't ask, almost as if telepathically knowing why and where. He brushes past one of the bar men as he heads off to the loo corridor and the pungent smell of old piss hits him hard. He has an overwhelming desire to turn back or vomit his food on the spot, but quells both and pushes the men's door. Just as Sirius remembers, the floor tiles are caked in muddy footprints and the walls are tinged a dirty yellow. The urinals look as if they haven't been washed in years and there is no toilet paper in any of the cubicles. Sirius reckons most of the waiters' tips are used to clean bottoms instead.

A quick scan around and Sirius finds Remus at the sink, washing his face vigorously. 'Are you all right?'

'Of course not,' Remus snaps to Sirius's surprise. 'My best friend is getting hitched with a bloke she barely knows and if she's really serious about this, then she is a fucking fool. Because right now, this looks like a complete disaster that is sure to either end in tears or possible murder. And it's not as if I don't trust James or like him, but this is fucking insane! What are they thinking?' He pants heavily, eyes wide and wild as they look at Sirius. Then, as if realising the absurdity of his rant, he blushes and quickly looks away. 'Sorry.'

Sirius blinks away his surprise. 'No, don't be. You're right.' He places a hand on Remus's shoulder and forces him to turn. 'You're completely right. This whole thing is suicide. That's what I thought the minute they mentioned it. But then, why did you agree to talk to Lily's parents. You seemed so…happy.'

Remus pinches the bridge of his nose tiredly. 'Of course I agreed. She's my best friend; it's my job to support her every step of the way just like it's yours for James. She'd hate me if I didn't. Also,' He hesitates before admitting, 'I haven't seen her this happy in a long time.'

Only then does Sirius realise what an idiot he'd been to James.

'I mean, just because it'll never happen to me doesn't mean it can't work for anyone else, right?' Maybe it will last and they'll stay married forever; and all of us will look back on this day with a laugh and realise how stupid we were for not seeing it. And fuck, do I want it to work…more than anything else; I would really love to see them together till the end.' Remus shrugs and looks up at Sirius with a smile. He is truly beautiful; selfless and caring and everything that Sirius has ever attributed to perfection.

Gosh, Remus is beautiful. 'It will work for you,' Sirius says slowly, perhaps completely missing the point Remus is trying to raise. 'Maybe not today or even next month or this year, but you'll definitely get there.'

Remus snorts and moves away. Only then does Sirius realise that he was holding both of Remus's hands tightly in his this entire time. 'Look at me, Sirius. You were right that night; I'm the type that always wants a relationship and while that might be a great mindset to attract birds, it's like dropping the Hiroshima for a bloke. And this scares the hell out of me.' It is the first time Remus is actually voicing out his fears to Sirius. Usually, they only talk about trivial things like movies or sports. But for the first time, Sirius is seeing a wholly insecure side of Remus that makes him almost uncomfortable. 'What if I never get there, Sirius? What if I spend my whole life searching for that certain someone and never find him because my standards are too high? It isn't as if there's a whole line of options waiting for me, so isn't it smarter to just settle for the first person I see?'

Mad. Sirius thinks Remus is raving mad to be thinking such complicated thoughts. 'You're mad,' Sirius points out and flicks Remus on the forehead. 'You could have anyone you wanted. You just need to open your eyes; there is an entire queue trying to make their way into your trousers.' Somehow, Sirius feels he shouldn't have revealed this bit of information. What if Remus really did open his eyes and realise how brilliant he is? What if Remus decided to have his pick from the queue?

'That waiter who served us was pretty decent…'

Hell no, Sirius thinks. 'And straight. This pub is for straight people, Remus. Don't get ahead of yourself.'

Remus chuckles and shakes his head. 'All right, all right. Come on,' he pats Sirius on the shoulder before pulling the bathroom door open. 'We look like a couple of birds who decided to go into the loo together for a chat about boyfriends. No need to smear the name of fags this way. We have our pride.'

Sirius hurries along, bumping shoulders with Remus and laughing for no particular reason, except that Remus looks hilarious when he's saving himself from toppling over. They shove at each other, warring and racing to the table. The waiter Remus had found attractive looks at them funny and Sirius sticks out his tongue childishly, before dissolving into laughter all over again. He is glad the topic is off their chest; even more so because Remus had shared the same feelings as Sirius. This is why he loves Remus; because with him Sirius finally feels free.

'Remus and I have decided to move in together,' Sirius declares, once they've collapsed to their seats, still giggling.

This time, it is Remus's turn to spit his beer at James's face. 'What?'

James is the only one who doesn't look surprised by this sudden decision; only disgruntled at having to wipe his face yet again with a used napkin.

'Well, it's only reasonable,' Sirius reasons, feeling a little less sure of himself than he was a minute ago under Remus's shocked gaze. 'We are both going to London to study and we'll both be skint, so it only makes sense to share an apartment together.' This is a complete lie. Sirius had no plans whatsoever of ever going to university when he'd first moved in with the Potters. He had been planning to live off his Uncle Alphard's fortune for the rest of his life, maybe invest in a few businesses, but nothing more. He was also far from skint. 'I heard dorm prices are off the scale and study partners are a must if you want to get through even the first year.' Truth is, Sirius has been pestering James to find out exactly which universities Remus is hoping to get into so that he can apply to the exact same ones. His family name and status is enough to get him through even on short notice. Sirius realises that this is a bit creepy but he tells himself that he needs a friend once James is gone, and that a career in architecture cannot be that bad. Sirius likes to live in houses, so perhaps he will also enjoy making houses. 'So, really, Remus, close your mouth and just agree to move in with me.'

James throws a chip at him for his lame attempt at nonchalance.

Remus closes his mouth as requested, but it seems it is from the lack of anything to say. He stutters out a few syllables here and there but it is nothing intelligible. He looks helplessly at Lily, who is glaring furious daggers at Sirius. Not that Sirius cares; he bloody hates her and always will till the end of eternity. 'I-' Remus starts. 'You-' he tries again, his lips pursing and face scrunching with confusion. 'You are mad…'

Sirius takes it as a yes.

'You did it!' Sirius rejoices, pushing past the crowd and practically leaping towards Remus. He pulls the other boy into a tight hug and kisses him on the cheek. 'You did it!' He pulls back to survey the silver medal sitting proudly upon Remus's chest, wet from the water dripping off Remus's hair. It is true that Remus didn't win first place in the championship, but given that he was sick during a large part of the practices, Sirius thinks this is a great achievement. Already, there have been four university scouts who have approached Remus, pulling him away one after another to probably put down something of a sales pitch. Remus already has a bag full of goodies – pens, jumpers, scarves; all printed with their respective university insignia. The one that catches Sirius's eye, however, is Hogwarts – the University Remus had been desiring for. 'What did they say?'

Remus's cheeks are flushed from happiness as he pushes Sirius away slightly. 'Hogwarts welcomes me with open arms.' His grin matches Sirius. 'Dad is going to be so proud. All those stories he used to tell me about the Initiation and Housing Ceremony – do you reckon I'd be in Gryffindor?'

Sirius throws an arm over Remus's shoulder. It doesn't escape his notice that Remus is wearing the purple shirt Sirius had given him as good luck. Well, luck is the reason he gave Remus, but he'd only bought it for the sole reason he buyst all of Remus's gifts – to make the boy smile. It is odd really, how every time Sirius goes to the store, he thinks about how nice Remus will look in that blue shirt or how his amber eyes will match that jacket, and so forth. Buying things for Remus is an impulse he cannot control. 'We both will, you just watch! I-'


Sirius finds his heart stop and his throat tighten, and he turns slowly to confirm his worst nightmare. Sirius has been trying to avoid this very situation for four months now and he has been successful so far. But now, there is no running away from Remus's parents. They are too close and Remus's father, who is a big, big man, looks murderous. Sirius can almost feel the ground shaking with every step he takes towards them. Sirius's feet are frozen, but he sets his face to look brave and nonchalant. Remus's friendship is worth any punch he might have to take; though Sirius still wishes he had some kind of heroic speech prepared. The kind they showed in the movies, where everybody started to clap at the end. Past John Lupin, Sirius can see Lily and James following in what can only be described as a manic waddle-walk. Immediately, Sirius's hatred for Lily tells him that she has brought them here to slay Sirius because she is evil that way. But it is obvious that is not the case by her worried expression and James's frantic hand motions telling him to run before Sirius's throat is slit.

'Remus, what is this boy doing here?' Mrs. Lupin asks furiously, while John Lupin stands in the sidelines looking menacing. Dimly, Sirius remembers being told that as much as Remus is a momma's boy, Mr. Lupin is his wife's slave. Which only proves that Mrs. Lupin is a dangerous woman. 'I explicitly told you not to meet him again!'

Remus colours brightly. 'He is my friend!'

Sirius opens his mouth to defend himself but all he can manage is a croak. 'Mrs. Lupin, I-'

She rounds on him, amber eyes flashing dangerously. 'Look, Sirius, I don't know what you're up to but just because he's kind doesn't mean he's easy. I will not tolerate you-'

'MUM, THAT'S ENOUGH!' Remus screams suddenly, taking everyone by shock. The gym is noisy, but the few families that were chatting beside them stop to stare. Mrs. Lupin looks like someone has stabbed her in the back and Sirius probably thinks it's because Remus never raises his voice, least of all to his mother. It is horrible of him to celebrate the fact that Remus is standing up for him, especially since it is at the cost of defying his parents. But Sirius cannot help it; there is happiness and pride bubbling within him. Pity it doesn't give him courage to speak up though; and he wonders where all his wit and suave charm have gone. He really should have had a speech prepared.

Remus is pulled to the side by Mr. and Mrs. Lupin roughly. They all look furious and Sirius can do nothing to save the situation but stare at his feet. He is stuck – unable to move an inch. He can hear drops of their conversation:

'A runaway…delinquent….even his family disowned him!'

Sirius feels his throat tighten and he clenches his fist tightly. He is sure not to catch either James or Lily's eyes because he knows what he will find there: pity.

'I will not have you consort with….boys like him are…'

Shame burns his face and behind his eyelids.

Sirius should leave.

Sirius really should just leave, but he finds himself frozen, listening to every single thing being said about him. It is mortifying because it is all true. All of it about his family, about him is true. There is no denying it.

'Are you really going to let him use you like…Remus, you never stand up for yourself, that's your…I'm telling you to…'

Sirius finally finds the courage to turn around and start walking, when suddenly a hand grabs his wrist firmly. 'I'm standing up for myself now!' He finds Remus screaming to his parents. Somehow, their argument has deviated to include Sirius and they are now standing facing each other – Remus's parents looking furious on one side and Remus and Sirius on the other. Remus's face is contorted in anger – brows furrowed, hair askew, cheeks flushed; and all Sirius's horny brain can think is Remus looks damn good angry. 'I'm standing up for my friend!' Remus states with a jerk of their joint hands. 'So, you might as well get used to it because I'm keeping him!'

Sirius thinks it is a bad time to mention that he is really not a dog you can just 'keep'. 'Remus, you shouldn't-' Sirius is trying to say that Remus doesn't have to do all this for him, least of all with his parents, but he never really gets to complete it.

'Shut up!' Remus snarls and then tugs at Sirius's hand. 'Shut up and just come!'

'Sorry about my mum.'

Sirius shrugs, pretending that Mrs. Lupin's cold attitude and horrible words didn't sting just a little bit. Remus had taken him out for a movie and greasy fish and chips to lighten the mood, where they had avoided speaking about the whole ordeal like boys were meant to do. It was how they worked. And if Remus feared getting into trouble once he got home, he certainly didn't show it.

'It's only fair,' Sirius replies after a while. 'I mean, she heard a good deal of what happened between us and...well, I wouldn't want me in the house either after everything I did. I'm just glad she doesn't know about us moving in together, yet...'

So, they are lying in the grass now, enjoying the first hints of summer. It is still only June, so they still have to keep their coats on to keep away the slight chill. There are sandwich crumbs and empty coffee cups lying in between their bodies as they search for unusual shapes in the clouds. Sirius has so far found a giant squid, an ogre, and a lightning bolt. Remus has found a pair of hairy balls and an ice cream cone.

Remus hums softly, his head turning to the side to give Sirius a reassuring smile. 'It's weird to think that we're going to university together. I mean, I'm actually excited. I've never been to London and to have someone with me makes things a lot more fun.'

'Let's just hope we don't run into my parents,' Sirius mutters darkly.

Remus looks at him oddly. 'I'll never understand you relationship with them.'

'Me either,' Sirius sighs. 'I want to be free of them, but sometimes, I feel like it's impossible. Everything they do and say infuriates me. Every time I see them in the papers or the telly, I want to rip their smug faces apart and do horrid things to them. It's...complicated.'

Remus pats his thigh sympathetically. 'I'm sorry.'

Sirius shrugs. 'Don't be.'

A wind ruffles their hair, lifting it gently before letting it fall haphazardly across their foreheads. The silence between them isn't unpleasant, but both boys shift in an attempt to dissuade it. Unconsciously, their legs move closer to each other till their thighs touch and the arms folded casually behind their heads overlap.

'My favourite colour is yellow. What's yours?

Sirius looks at Remus quizzically. 'What?'

Remus rolls his eyes as if Sirius is being purposely stupid. 'What's your favourite colour?'

Sirius shrugs, playing along. 'Red, I suppose. What's your favourite band?'

Remus grins. 'Queen. All-time favourite song?'

'Deep Purple's Burn. Favourite movie?'

'Haven't got one. Favourite actor?'

Sirius raises an eyebrow, but continues, 'Sean Connery. First kiss?'

Remus blushes, hesitating before finally admitting to the truth, 'Lily Evans.'

Sirius feels that old jealousy flare up again. 'Lily? Really?' he asks, hoisting himself up on his elbow. Of course Lily is Remus's first kiss. It is always Lily. 'Don't tell me you lost your virginity to her as well...'

'No.' Suddenly Remus's voice takes a sombre tone. 'We never slept together.' His amber eyes look up at Sirius, straight white teeth biting into flushed pink lips. 'It was you,' he whispers softly, his head falling sideways to the grass as he looks away. 'You were the first person I ever slept with.'

And suddenly, the enormity of his actions hit him. 'M-me?' he stutters, still unable to believe Remus's confession. He feels like an utter arse; of course Remus had been angry at him that night; of course he had wanted it to mean more. 'I-' Sirius no longer knows what to say because he himself cannot describe what he's feeling. On one hand, he feels guilt over his actions that night, of his insensitivity towards Remus's feeling and his complete lack of tact. On the other hand, a traitorous part of him rejoices over being Remus's first; is glad that no one has ever laid hand on Remus before this.

Sirius has two options, really. To either apologise or rejoice. He doesn't dwell on it much and follows his instincts like he always does. And right now, his instincts are leading him to press his lips against Remus's, tentatively at first and then with a bit more pressure. It is a chaste kiss, a simple press of lips that send tingles down Sirius's spine and makes his knees feel like jelly. He doesn't even realise his eyes are closed until he's opened them; and he finds himself kneeling on top of Remus. He can't help but stare. This isn't the first time he has thought Remus beautiful. With him sprawled underneath Sirius like this, light brown hair shining gold in the sun and cheeks flushed pink against his pale skin; Remus is truly and utterly gorgeous. Sirius runs a hand over Remus's cheek, thumb tracing the smooth curvature of his lips. He finds his hand still in shock when a tear suddenly pools in Remus's eyes and then cascades sideways down his cheek.

'What's wrong?' Sirius asks in panic. Had he hurt him again? Had he done something stupid again?

'You need to stop this, Sirius.' Remus whispers and his expression seems pained. He wipes his eyes roughly, even though they are dry. 'You need to stop leading me on like this. Applying to the same university as me, wanting to live together, constantly touching and asking me to go places with you - what am I supposed to think when you do things like this? I'm trying to be a good mate to you, but you're making it really hard for me by giving me hope.'

'I-I'm sorry,' Sirius replies, more out of bafflement than guilt. He doesn't understand. He only did what he wanted to do. Like always, Sirius only follows his instincts and his instincts have always told him to keep close to Remus. He wants to be with Remus, no matter what lengths he needs to go. At times, Remus feels like oxygen to him - impossible to live without.

Remus covers his mouth as he lets out a dry sob. 'I'm in love with you, you stupid git.'

Sirius's eyes widen.


Remus sits up, shaky hands running through his hair. Sirius realises with horror that Remus's breathing seems to be speeding up. 'And it isn't like I haven't tried. I keep telling myself that it will never work out and you will never feel the same about me, but I-'

'Remus, calm down...'

'I'm trying, Sirius! I'm trying!' Remus cries, burying his face into his hands. He takes a deep shuddering breath and Sirius feels fear grip his heart, as he remembers Remus's last trip to the hospital. 'I'm really trying to stop but I'm too far gone.'

'Remus,' Sirius soothes, rubbing Remus's back in quick circular strokes. 'It's all right. Breathe.' And Sirius found that it was all right. Unlike last time, Sirius finds that he isn't panicking at all. 'Remus,' he repeats, 'it's all right. Listen to me, it's all right.' His hand moves to Remus's brown hair, fingers slipping through the light curls at the back of his neck in a repetitive motion. He wishes Remus would stop crying. It feels as if someone is twisting a knife in his gut and all Sirius wants is Remus to stop crying. Has he really hurt Remus this much? 'Shhh...'

'I'm sorry,' Remus rasps out in between sobs. 'I'm really sorry, Sirius. I know this is the last thing you want to deal with right now and it's not even fair to just spring this on you.' One hand rises to clutch Sirius's coat limply, almost pleadingly. 'Tell me what to do...'

Sirius closes his hand over Remus's, pressing it to his chest where he is sure Remus can feel his heart beating rapidly. 'Let me kiss you again,' he says softly. When Remus looks up at him with startled amber eyes, Sirius feels his breath hitch. He feels cruel for thinking that Remus looks beautiful when he cries - teary eyes, pink cheeks, and an expression that makes Sirius want to encase him in his arms and protect him with everything he has. 'I'll do it right this time,' Sirius assures, resting a hand on each of Remus's cheeks, thumbs brushing away stray tears. He leans closer, until their lips are brushing, and Sirius is acutely aware of each of Remus's shaky exhales against his skin. 'I promise, I'll do it right this time.'

Remus swings the front door open, takes in the spectacle before him and says, 'Sorry, I don't think I know you,' before closing it again.

Sirius huffs in annoyance and rings the door bell again. 'Remus, open up! It's me: Sirius!' When Remus still refuses to open, he bangs on the door with his fist loud enough to attract the neighbours' attention. Already, he can see a few curious heads peeking out of from behind window curtains. 'Reeeemus! Let me in!' Sirius is just preparing to sing God Save the Queen on top of his lungs when Remus finally yields.

He stands at the door, surveying Sirius head to toe before asking, 'Are we going to a wedding?'

'No,' Sirius replies confused.

'A funeral, perhaps?'


'Then please tell me why you are dressed like this?'

Sirius thinks he looks very smart, thank you very much, and really does not appreciate the disgusted look Remus is shooting him. The suit he is wearing happens to be very expensive, and tailor made especially for him. It fits his body like a glove, the dark charcoal grey complementing his eyes spectacularly. The white oxford underneath is crisp white, as he has had the Potter's maid iron it for him twice; and his shoes are shined to perfection. He has also gotten Mr. Potter to knot his burgundy tie so that it sits smartly across his collar.

'They won't let you in with jeans,' Sirius comments haughtily, casting a disdainful look towards Remus's ripped knees. His heart does flutter a little when he notices Remus is wearing the shirt Sirius gave him, but that isn't enough to pull him out of his strop. 'You'll need to change.'

'Sirius,' Remus says slowly, as if talking to a child, 'I thought we were just going for dinner?'

Sirius rolls his eyes. 'We are.' Remus is middle class, he tells himself. That is probably the reason why he is being so daft. Sirius doesn't mean to be condescending but he would think that he has made their dinner plans fairly obvious.

'Then why are you asking me to dress like we're heading off to the Queen's ball?' Remus plants his feet firmly to the ground. 'Sirius, I'm not going anywhere ridiculously expensive where there's more plate than food and that horrid piano music playing in the background. I thought you wanted burgers or chips or...or...' Remus raises his hands exasperatedly. 'Anything but this!'

Sirius pouts petulantly. 'Look, I asked James and he told me this is what going on a date means. I take you to a fancy restaurant, act chivalrous and open doors and things for you, and then we go for a moonlit walk in the park. This is meant to be romantic!' He crosses his arms over his chest. 'We always go for movies and chips together, so it doesn't exactly make for a proper date. And I told you I'd get things right this time, so just-' Sirius huffs in frustration and stomps his feet a little, willing Remus to understand.

And like always, Remus does and he smiles that lovely warm smile that makes Sirius feel just a little less awkward. He looks back over his shoulders to check, then beckons Sirius inside when the coast seems clear. Sirius assumes Remus's parents are still less than thrilled over his presence. 'I only have a suit from my Great Aunt Penelope's fifth wedding,' Remus explains as they climb up the stairs to his bedroom.

'Is it bad?' Sirius asks, closing the door behind them and taking his usual seat on Remus's bed. The covers are ridiculously flowery today, which tells Sirius that Mrs. Lupin probably made Remus's bed this morning.

Remus shoots Sirius an apprehensive look before fishing out what can only be assumed to be a suit out of his cupboard. 'It's tartan,' he says disdainfully, holding the hanger between his index and thumb like it was a bit of rubbish.

It is rubbish. It is beyond rubbish, Sirius thinks. It is an atrocity. A suit made entirely of green and brown Irish tartan. The colours stung Sirius's eyes to the point of tears. 'Why?' Is all he can bring himself to ask.

Remus tries to shrug nonchalantly, but the rapid colouring of his face is a dead giveaway. 'My dad's Irish.' He put the suit back into the far end of the cupboard; and even in the dark, Sirius can make out the print perfectly. 'It was meant to be a kilt initially, but...'

Sirius shudders.

'Look,' Remus starts settling down beside Sirius, their legs swinging together. 'Let's go to the Three Broomsticks, but we'll order a private booth and some low lighting. It will be our little make shift dinner date; and later you can walk me home. If you want to, of course.' Remus says the end bit with a bright blush across his face, his eyes shifting from one end of the room to another in an attempt to avoid meeting Sirius's eyes.

'Don't suppose you could lend me a t-shirt?' Sirius replies with a grin.

'You eyes are like black raisins.'

Remus rolls his eyes. 'They're brown.'

Sirius waves it off, continuing his mock flirting (another thing James had asked him to do as part of a ritualistic date). 'They're gorgeous, just like you hair which are like waves of luscious chocolate. And you skin is of the smoothest cream.'

'Is there any part of me which is not edible?'

'None,' Sirius laughs, gnawing at Remus's neck before pulling him into a kiss. It is chaste, simply a brush of lips that taste like chocolate, cheap wine, and dreams. Because that is exactly what tonight has been for Remus - a dream. As promised, they'd gone to the Three Broomsticks and sat in an isolated corner of the pub, legs intertwined under the table. Sirius had been a little over the top with his "date" concept, pulling out chairs and holding out doors, but Remus had found that he honestly couldn't complain. They'd talked about trivial things like they always did; made fun of James and Lily; pulled pranks on the waiter by pretending to be French - things they always did really. The only difference was the weight of Sirius's hand in his and the occasional kisses that Sirius would bestow his cheeks. They've also never gone on a moonlit walk before, even if it is only as far as Remus's home. They'd taken the longest route possible, getting off the bus a few stops earlier and then idling away at the park near Remus's house.

Sirius jumps up on the borders of one of the tackier fountains (a headless boy with what is presumably pee coming from his nether regions). He twirls and laughs, eyes sparkling brighter than the stars as he sings off tune in an attempt to serenade Remus (another one of James's ideas, no doubt).

'They, asked me how I knew...my true love was you...'

He pulls Remus up, twirling and dancing with him, their feet coming precociously close to the edges. Remus reckons, as infectious laughter bursts from his lips, that he wouldn't mind falling into a fountain right now. As long as Sirius is with him as he falls, he couldn't bring himself to care less.

Even now, Remus still hasn't come to grips with how he got so lucky.

'Shh, do you hear that?'

'What?' Remus asks puzzled, already straining his ears.

'There's someone having sex nearby!' Sirius whispers excitedly. It isn't anything new; the park here plays something of a double role. In the mornings, it is a play area for children of all ages and at night, it is a play area for adults of all ranges. Remus remembers the day he and Lily had found a used condom in second grade and brought it back to home, thinking it had just been a very soggy balloon.

'We should probably let them be,' Remus replies, shrugging and jumping of the fountain ledge. 'By the sounds of it, they'll be done soon enough.'

'Psh, you're no fun. Let's scare them!'

Remus raises an eyebrow. 'I could howl like a wolf?' he suggests, wondering when he has let Sirius's prankster ways consume him. He used to be such a good boy.

Sirius shoots him a brilliantly wicked look, before starting in his loudest, most embarrassing voice possible. 'Oh, oh, oh God, Moony, faster!' To Remus's horror, Sirius is practically screaming on top of his lungs. 'That's it - oh, there, there, FUCK, there!'

'What are you doing?' Remus whispers, grabbing Sirius's forearm and looking around to see if anyone else is around. Sirius has gone completely mad. There is no other explanation for the obscene noises he's making or why he is repeatedly banging the nearest tree trunk in a thunk thunkmotion.

'Harder, Moony, harder!' Sirius yells, clutching Remus and muffling laughter into his shoulder.

Remus really does not appreciate the name Moony. 'Oooh, Padfoot!' He mock swoons and takes up a husky voice, suddenly feeling vengeful. It is not fair for only him to have a ridiculous nick name. 'Padfoot, you are such a slut for my cock! That's right, babe, take it!'

Dead silence fills the air. It seems the other couple have just realised that both their voices, screaming in pleasure, are very much male. Remus almost wishes he could see their faces as it hits them, and even wonders if they are running away from horror. Sirius stares at him with something akin to shock and admiration. Remus finds himself going red under his gaze, suddenly feeling very subconscious about being so boldly dirty mouthed. And then suddenly, both of them burst into uncontrollably giggles; falling over each other as they quickly stumble out of the park. It is one of the maddest things he's done and it feels fucking fantastic. It is only Sirius who can make him do these things. Sirius, who brings out a mischievous side of Remus that he always buries between books and responsibility. Sirius, who holds his hand as they run across the street for no particular reason but to feel the wind in their hair and the adrenaline pumping through their veins. Sirius, who kisses him so fully that it makes Remus's heart go wild and his chest threaten to explode.

'This is it, I guess,' Sirius whispers pulling away, once they reach Remus's front door. His eyes are slightly hazy and his lips are parted invitingly. Sirius's hands still linger around Remus's waist, thumbs rubbing slow, sensuous circles underneath his shirt. 'I hope you had a good time, even though things didn't go according to plan. I shouldn't have trusted James's advice anyways.'

Remus didn't know what to say, his tongue already tied into a range of strange knots from sheer happiness. So he just hugs Sirius tighter, head falling to rest on Sirius's wonderfully broad shoulders. He can feel the other boy's heartbeat against his and feels extremely soppy for wanting this moment to last forever.

'This is the first date I've ever gone on,' Sirius admits softly, resting his chin on Remus's shoulder. 'I don't know why. When I first found out I was gay, I just wanted to experiment. And after that it was always about a bit of fun. James thinks I'm terrified of relationships because of my family but...' He shrugs and Remus can feel the uncertainty in the tightness of Sirius's muscles. 'You're the first person who's been able to make me feel like this.'

'That's not what you thought at first,' Remus says softly.

Sirius shakes his head. 'I fancied you something unnatural, even though I knew you were off limits. At first, I thought it was maybe because you were a decent looking chap, quite fit, too.' He punctuated this point with a squeeze of Remus's arse cheeks. 'But when we weren't talking and then when you were admitted into Mungo's - those were the worst few weeks of my life. And then even when we were friends again, we'd barely touch and I kept getting jealous over every little thing that got closer to you than I was. More and more, I felt like I had to keep you all to myself; it was ridiculous.'

Remus feels himself blushing over Sirius's admission. There is something inside him that is threatening to burst from sheer elation and he is sure that he is already floating a few inches of the ground. 'Do you want to come in?' He asks, moving out of their embrace while biting his lower lip nervously. 'My parents are asleep so I'm sure you could sneak in.'

Sirius raises an eyebrow. 'My, aren't we bold? On the very first date?'

Remus grins cheekily, letting the door open behind him. He backs into his house, tilting his head in invitation. 'What can I say? You've turned me into a slag...' He kicks of his shoes to the corner, internally thanking his parents for leaving the hall lights off for once. Despite the slight stumbling, at least Sirius can't see his pathetic attempts at a seductive expression. 'Are you coming or not?'

'Fuck yeah,' Sirius whispers, practically running in to catch up. As soon as the lock to the front door clicks in place, it becomes a mad rush to get to Remus's bedroom. Remus is sure his back will be full of bruises tomorrow from all the times Sirius has pushed him against the staircase banisters for a snog. Sirius's kisses are just like his personality: messy and passionate and so very hot that it threatens to bring Remus's knees to the floor. Two pairs of hands scrabble to reach skin under clothes, nearly knocking down furniture in the process. Giggles escape between parted lips and urgent 'shhhs' are whispered into ears.

'All right?' Sirius asks, once they'd fallen into Remus's bed. Somehow, they are both naked and Remus sincerely hopes that they haven't left any of their discarded clothes outside for his parents to find in the morning.

Remus nods, looking up at Sirius. There is apprehension coiling in his gut along with a heady arousal. He can already feel Sirius's erection rubbing insistently against his hip. Sirius is this hard for Remus. As if needing reassurance, Remus reaches down and closes his fist around Sirius's cock. It is already dripping pre-cum as he swipes his thumb over the head.

'Fuck,' Sirius moans softly, his forehead pressed against Remus's. His breath is hot as it falls over Remus's face and his body is already thrusting slightly, urging Remus to move his hand. 'Fuck, Remus...' Sirius's fingers are digging into Remus's sides; teeth and lips sucking bruises into Remus's neck and shoulders and down his chest. 'I want you...'

Sirius's grey eyes are mesmerising to Remus, pupils blown out from lust. He feels as if he is spiraling into an endless chasm every time he looks at them. Almost transfixed, he turns on his stomach. The apprehension he had been feeling has long since disappeared.

'No,' Sirius whispers, hand on Remus's shoulder as he coaxes him to turn on his back again. 'No, not this way.' He cups Remus's cheek gently and kisses the end of his nose. 'I want to see your face this time.'

And right then, Remus knows that he is well beyond the point of no return. He is completely, madly in love with Sirius Black. It is all he can think of as Sirius enters him, back arching and Remus's name dropping from his lips like a mantra. He finds himself following the trail of sweat down Sirius's chest with his fingers, running his hands down Sirius's back and arse in an attempt to mold them closer. And when Sirius is finally coming inside him, warm and wet, Remus commits every detail of his face to memory. The flush of his cheeks, the haze in his eyes, and the way his body trembles in the aftermath - Remus finds that Sirius has never looked more beautiful to him.

'Sirius, I love you.'

When Remus finally wakes up, the first thing he realises is that his bed is empty. When he runs his hand over the sheets, he finds them to be cool; Sirius has left without saying goodbye. 'Sirius?' He calls anyway, in hopes that perhaps Sirius has excused himself to the bathroom or is changing into fresh clothes in some unseen corner of Remus's room. He feels more disappointed than he should when he gets no reply.

Remus closes his eyes. He is naked underneath his sheets, feeling dirty and used. To have fallen for Sirius's charms twice - he feels like a fool. He had been right to think that last night had been a dream. He tries to think back to see if he's made any mistakes perhaps. Had he been too assertive last night, too needy, too weird? Had Sirius decided that he'd had the right idea all along and dating Remus wasn't really what it was cut out to be.

Then again, a hopeful part of his mind supplies, Sirius might have left to avoid being found out. Remus's parents aren't exactly fond of Sirius and finding him in Remus's bed is definitely not on their high list of priorities. Perhaps Sirius had left to save Remus the drama and embarrassment of being found naked in bed?

It certainly sounds like something Sirius would do. Also, Remus can still see Sirius's suit from yesterday at the end of the bed, folded neatly just as Remus had left it.

Feeling hope bubble in his chest, Remus quickly puts on the first pair of trousers and shirt he can find and runs down the stairs. He is just about to give Sirius a call on the telephone when he hears muffled laughter from behind the kitchen doors. Frowning, he perks up his ears in an almost canine movement. He is almost sixty percent sure he can hear Sirius's characteristic bark of laughter from in there.

Hitching up his falling trousers, he curiously pushes open the kitchen door.

'And then Remus does this horrible French accent as says, Monsieur, what iz these feesh and cheeps? Is it cheekeen?'

Last night's dream continues, Remus thinks. Because that is the only way he can explain Sirius sitting at the breakfast table, actually having a civilised conversation with his parents. There are eggs and soldiers laid out on the table and laughter at horrible, horrible jokes. Remus's dad is using his knife for butter instead of murder and his mum seems to actually be enjoying their conversation.

He cannot explain it because he does not know about the little sheet of paper lying under Sirius's bed in the Potter Manor. He does not know how well worn it is from the many times Sirius has opened it to memorise all the words and recite them in front of the mirror. Nor does he know of the many time Sirius has been laughed at by James for addressing their coat hanger as Mrs. Lupin.

'Morning, love,' Sirius greets cheerfully when he notices Remus standing open mouthed at the door. 'Mum, dad and I were just talking about you...'

'This is the last of them,' James crows joyfully, as he puts a box labeled 'Stuff' down. 'What the hell did you put in this, Sirius?'

Sirius rolls his eyes and points at the label, 'Exactly what it says, mate: STUFF.'

'I don't remember you ever owning that much stuff when you were living with me,' James grouches, rubbing his sore back and shoulders. 'You better not have stolen any of my things, Black.'

Sirius does not reply, settling for a mysterious eyebrow wiggle instead.

Remus ignores the pair of them and pushes the curtains open, groaning tiredly. 'I hate London. I've seen cinema halls with more sunlight. Ugh.'

Lily laughs and drapes both arms over his shoulders, hoisting herself up into a piggy back. Her feet stick out on either side of his waist and she rests her chin on the crown of his head. When they were younger, it was Remus who would beg for piggy back rides from Lily; but somewhere in between, Remus had shot up to an impressive six-four and their positions had reversed. Though sometimes, Remus still wishes for an occasional piggyback. He wonders if he can coax Sirius into giving him one sometime.

Speaking of the devil, Remus knows Sirius is probably glaring at Lily's back right now. Sirius has already complained to Remus multiple times that they touch too much. Remus doesn't agree at all. He and Lily are like any other pair of best friends, who like to tussle and hug and occasionally take a bath together. Remus is definitely not naïve and Lily definitely does not take advantage of his naivety. Sirius is stupid; yet, a silly part of Remus still rejoices in the fact that Sirius gets jealous over him.

'I rather like your apartment,' Lily comments, looking out the window. 'Very quaint and er...convenient.'

It is an articulate way of saying it is rather small and cheap. It is essentially just a bedroom and a kitchen, finishing even before it manages to start. Sirius had wanted to splurge on a condo, but Remus had insisted rent be on fair terms. Also, Remus doubted Uncle Alphard's bit of "pocket money" would pay for his nephew's rather expensive college tuition given the lifestyle Sirius was used to (he had gotten the Potter's driver to drop them all the way to London). Not that Remus is complaining. Well, Remus is complaining, but that doesn't mean he isn't happy. In fact, he is ecstatic to finally have a place of his own. Already, he is harbouring girly fantasies of welcome home kisses; waking up to Sirius's lovely face every morning; and frantic sex on random bits of furniture.

Even though the only random bit of furniture they currently had was a bed and a television. And Remus really didn't want to ruin his telly.

'You're only happy because your apartment's right above ours.' Sirius comments grouchily, pushing Lily quite violently off of Remus's back and onto the floor. He has that disgruntled expression of pure jealousy that Remus takes guilty pleasure in, as he replaces Lily's spot with himself. While Lily was as light as a feather, Sirius is built like a rock. The boy is nearly as tall as Remus and muscled from all the footy matches he plays with James during free hours. Sirius's body is meant for a lot of things, namely sex, but not for piggybacks. 'I know you did this on purpose, you crazy bint. You can't stand me having him all to myself.' Almost on cue, Remus's arms give out and he lets Sirius fall off his back right next to Lily. They glare at each other venomously and Remus silently wonders if they will ever like each other.

Lily sticks out her tongue as James helps her up. 'Mate, I told you: I was the one who chose the flat,' James explains, dutifully straightening Lily's clothes and hair. He is utterly and completely whipped by her. The kind of whipped that involves carrying all her bags and giving up his jacket in the cold and wagging his proverbial tail every time she is around.

'Tosh,' Sirius scoffs, getting up and draping himself all over Remus possessively. 'I know you and I know you would have chosen a fucking palace, given free reign. I saw you cringe when you realised the floor is made from marble chips instead of pure marble.'

James can pose no argument to this. They all know it is true. Remus does not mention that Sirius had nearly cried when he realised they had no luxurious claw footed bathtub or glass door shower. He had cried when he realised that they would have to commute by tube every day to get to University. Once purebred, always a purebred, Remus thinks with only a hint of sympathy. Then again, who is he to judge when he is a self-proclaimed mummy's boy and had spent over an hour being coddled and cried over by his mother before coming here.

'Master Potter, is this also Master Sirius's stuff?'

James is saved from having to admit his weakness towards Lily by the Potter's driver popping up. The poor man is carrying a box laden with Lily's plethora of clothes and shoes, sweat dripping from his balding scalp. His normally pressed and immaculate suit is in disarray, and he looks miffed at being treated like an ordinary coolie.

'No, William, that would be ours; up another flight,' James hurries to the door, pulling Lily along by the wrist.

William looks like James has asked him to scale the Himalayas. 'As you wish, Master Potter,' he replies with a long suffering sigh, letting James and Lily lead the way up the stairs. He looks back at Sirius and Remus balefully, his old blue eyes noting the way they stand chest to back. Sirius's arms are wound around Remus's waist, hands tucked snugly into Remus's jean pockets. If Sirius has noticed the disapproval in the old man's eyes, he certainly doesn't show it. Instead, he waves a cheerful goodbye to all three of them.

'Come up to help! Five-oh-four!' Remus hears James's voice call out before they disappear completely out of sight.

As soon as they are alone, Sirius turns Remus around by the shoulders so that they're face to face. 'I told you not to let her touch you so much!' he scolds in a way that Remus can't help but snigger to. 'Moony, don't laugh when I'm being serious.' This only causes Remus to burst into uncontrollable giggles. 'Moooonnyyy...' Ever since that night, they have taken to calling each other as Moony and Padfoot - something James finds hilarious. 'Oh, for fuck's sake, hush your mouth.'

'Sorry,' Remus chuckles, kissing Sirius on the cheek. 'She's in love with James, Padfoot. There's no reason to over react. You know she's only faffing about.'

Sirius snorts and is about to say something, when he gets distracted by someone at the door. James and Lily had left it open since Remus and Sirius were meant to follow them upstairs. 'Hello, are you our new neighbours?' Remus turns to see someone peeking into their apartment curiously. 'I'm Fabian. I live next door with my brother Gideon.'

Fabian is a very attractive bloke; older, probably in his late twenties. Long spiked hair and a pair of smart dark glasses, very unlike James's owlish ones, frame his very angular face. He is extremely well built, broad in every which way, with arms that look like they can snap just about anything in half. Though not as tall as Remus, he looks ridiculously intimidating. More so, because Remus knows that Fabian is exactly the kind of the guy Sirius would sleep with before having met Remus. Well, except for the fact that Fabian is a red head. For some reason, Sirius has developed a very odd correlation between gingers and evil ever since meeting Lily Evans.

'Sirius Black. And this is Remus Lupin.'

Remus finds himself bristling as Fabian's hazel eyes roam appreciatively over Sirius. Already, he can feel his insecurities bubbling and that absurd thought that Sirius is going to get tired of him soon. Sirius never says he loves Remus. Well, he has said it twice in the entire span of their relationship, but it is simply not enough. Not in the face of a very attractive man standing right before them. Not when Remus has no weapons nearby but a toaster to defend his love.

'You should come over sometime.'

Remus is startled out of his murderous thoughts by two very familiar arms finding their place around his waist again. A chin rests over his shoulder and a kiss falls on one side of his jaw lovingly. 'We might,' Sirius replies with a polite smile.

Fabian raises an eyebrow, giving Remus a curious once over and then breaking into a cheeky grin. 'Right. See you around then.'

'You didn't have to say it like that,' Remus complains, pushing Sirius away. 'Now he thinks we're offering up a threesome!'

Sirius bursts into laughter. 'You kinky devil, you. We've hardly been dating a few months and you're already bored with the sex?'

Remus colours. 'You were being suggestive!' he exclaims defensively, arms crossing over his chest. Secretly, he is feeling extremely pleased with Sirius's public show of affection and easy declaration of his relationship with Remus. 'You need to tone down all this flirting or...or people will take it the wrong way.'

'Aw, don't be like that, Moony.' Sirius pulls Remus to him, one hand settling over his bum while the other gently playing with his hair. Remus still doesn't understand how Sirius can be suggestive and sweet at the same time, just by a simple touch. 'You should know that I already can't bear to share you with anyone else.' His fingers move to the nape of Remus's neck, playing with the curled ends of his hair. 'Took me a long time to figure it all out, didn't it? I can't let it go that easily.'

Remus blushes as Sirius's other hand follows up the curve of his arse in slow motion and then moves under his shirt. He casts a nervous glance to the front door which is still ajar and hopes no one passes by. Remus is extremely aware of how close their faces are. Their lips are already brushing against each other, almost kissing but not. Remus wonders at what point he turned into this pathetic little girl, whose knees go weak from just one glance of Sirius's smoldering grey eyes. 'Figure what out?'

Sirius rolls his eyes and gently bumps his forehead against Remus's. 'That I love you, you daft git.'

The End

It's over! Wow, that was long despite the whole breaking down into three parts. Thank you all for reviewing this story and pushing it along so much. It really got me writing faster and pushing for regular updates. I hope the ending wasn't disappointing and everything worked according to how everybody wanted it to.

walrus biscuit: Thank you! Though I don't really know what salmaki is so I'm hoping it's something to eat and saying aaaaah.

(): You didn't leave a name so I hope you read this! I think I just about fulfilled all your requests so hopefully you enjoyed this chapter! Cheers!

Laea: Lol. I totally read all of your review and I'm so glad you liked Dating Remus Lupin. That is one of my own favourites in terms of writing though I do put in a lot in everything I work on. But believe it or not, when it first started out a lot of people didn't quite like it because Remus seemed so different. But I was honestly just a bit tired of him being portrayed as girly. I've always pictured him as someone very tall and gangly, and a little bit awkward but man through and through. I hope I wasn't too late in posting the final chapter and if I was, it was worth the wait. Thanks for reviewing! PS: I saw your link and totally get what you mean!

That buggering mudblood: Aww, I reply to all my reviewers, anon or not, because its totally worth it. Plus, I'm a bit of a chatter box and can't pass up any chances on just blabbering on and on about all the random topics in the world. Hope you liked the final chapter!

Whiterabbit111: I hope Sirius got punished enough before the happy ending!